Re-propagated ideas are like in-breeding, they will ultimately spawn the feeble and die. What’s worse is, perpetuated ideas, without even the consideration of any other possibilities, make people afraid to think. And a lack of thinking moves out species backward.
But before recorded and transmitted sound, there were books. Books, could, at least communicate the written words of others.
And for nearly a millennium the printing press and its ability to reproduce and distribute the written word in books, gradually made printing that millennium’s most important invention.
Through books, some ideas were distributed. Through books, some people began to think freely. Through books, the world’s technology expanded exponentially. Books have broken the closed loop to a degree. But books and their distribution of the written word have not made the world peaceful.
There is a problem with books. Through the distribution of the written word, people learned about some of the other people, and their ideas, but the written word may not communicate the relative importance of those different ideas to those other people. Books only communicate with the “flavor” of a writer, when imparted by the reader. Sometimes that’s enough, like with technical manuals. In technical manuals only the information is important, there is no flavor. In non-technical books the flavor becomes important, not only to communicate what is said but also to impart the sense of importance and conviction (flavor) the writer feels. “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”, carries a different emotion (flavor) when read by an actor who understands what the “times” are. He knows the rest of the play. He can then recite with a feeling better than the first time by a reader who doesn’t. The sound of the reading can
transmit the flavor of the words, that the written word may not. Sound transmits flavor, and therefore emotion. Sound transmits the feeling along with the ideas.
It is now, and has been for only a few years, the age of recorded and transmitted sound. Sound recording and subsequent transmission was invented in the1870’s. Times are moving faster now. Instead of taking almost a millennium to grow to significance like printing did, sound has taken about 100 years. In the 1940s worldwide distribution of sound exploded. In the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, Pop music became distributed everywhere. In the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s, recording technology expanded everywhere. The cultures that created and distributed Pop music, were now receiving different music from everywhere.
Sound can now be recorded and transmitted from anywhere to anywhere. And with that recording and transmission, goes sound’s ability to communicate the flavor, emotions, and ideas.
The implications of being able to transmit flavor, emotion, are enormous.
New ideas are imbedded in the flavor and emotions of sound. Is it any wonder that now that Japanese teenagers are listening to the same music as American teenagers that they both want similar things and lifestyle. Not the same things but similar things. Ideas were exchanged in music. Some were accepted, some were rejected. The Japanese have accepted wearing blue jeans and suits and have given up wearing kimonos, except for special occasions. But the Japanese have maintained their stronger sense of family.
They were exposed to new ideas by hearing the sounds of our culture and accepted those new ones that they liked and kept those of their own that they liked. They listened and learned what others do and feel. They learned what other cultures/peoples do and expanded their mind by accepting those ideas they thought might work better. They listened, they grew.
They grew not only within their own country but within the world, becoming more tolerant of other cultures, and then a world economic force. Exposure to other cultures caused all this to happen for Japan. Most of that exposure came from worldwide communication via sound. One might argue that the exposure to new ideas came from the effects of transportation. But transportation has directly effected only a small percentage of the population, while sound/communication has effected almost everybody.
For the entire history of the world there has been strike and retaliation.
You take my chicken, I take your goat, you take my horse, I kill your brother, you kill my family, and on, and on. Nobody ever stops to ask, why did you take my chicken? And its gets harder to stop and ask as the price
of human life escalates.
When it comes to different philosophies of life, or religion, we are even more confused. Here there are only ideas to take note of, no chickens and goats. You pray on Sunday, I want to build my boat, you tell me to “stop building its a holy day !” I say, “go screw yourself !”, you take offense for your God, I take offense for my personal privileges, and again we’re only a step away from throwing stones and murder.
In both cases the lack of understanding of each other, the lack of appreciation for each other’s emotion, the lack of tolerance of another’s ideas, makes us start the war.
Want the war to stop? I need to know what your holy day means to you.
You need to know what my boat means to me. We need an exchange of ideas and emotions. But it is hard for us to talk about any of this if we have no common ground to start from. And if everything about each of us is different from one another, where can we begin?
Sound is the answer. You hear my music, you hate it. I hear yours, I hate it the same. But both our kids listen to ideas in worldwide music over the radio, Internet or on disc. Our kids have both heard “All You Need Is Love.” Now each of our children have a common ground to talk to the other man’s child. One or both may like it or hate it but most significantly they have a common ground to start from. They also know that the rest of the world has heard it. I get familiar with your words and you with mine. And we both discover we want the same happiness for our families. We discover we both want much the same things. So the next time, I might be a little reluctant to throw that bomb.
We may discover that one of us has a philosophy that is unaccepting of the others, so there will still be war for a while. But at this point in world’s history the world community has pretty much decided that tolerance is the only world wide acceptable approach. It doesn’t matter what your philosophy is, if you’re not tolerant of others we don’t let you into the world community. The only countries that don’t have a tolerant approach are
those countries that don’t allow worldwide communications.
The summation of this is as follows:
You can use military force to kill an adversary, but only through the exchange of ideas can you stop the war. Books have brought us as far as they could, now we must understand how the other guy feels. Only through the exchange of feelings, emotions and ideas can we grow to be tolerant, grow as humans, and have peace.
Sound is the best way to exchange ideas.
Sound is the best way to peace.
Why Keep the Old Recording Equipment?
The audio industry wants to preserve its history, proven by the number of donation offerings to the Museum every month. Engineers, producers, studio owners and artists want to preserve something. They don’t want to preserve the equipment as much as what happened, the expressions and magical moments, and how their lives were enriched when they used that equipment. That’s what is precious. And we want to see it live on, that the spirit can continue in some way. That is the proof that makes continuing to use it so significant.
There is no better reason to continue using it than to give a chance to the teeming majority of sonic artists (musicians, poets, filmmakers,) a chance to be recorded and heard. We all have recognized that there is a world of unheard talent, often equal to or more extraordinary than the mainstream media can possibly offer. It is prevalent in all its rich variety. There is proof that most artists will remain unheard. The Museum of Sound Recording has begun to create a means of release for what is largely unshared and unavailable.
Young people, high school and college age to be sure, are absolutely fascinated by period audio gear when they are exposed to it in workshops, classes and recording events; as well as fascinated by its history. It’s their cultural heritage and they want to understand its intensity, urgency and magic. They’re interested in experiencing it first-hand. This is another proof that drives us to preserve and bring to life our audio past.
by Bernard Fox